Module ADZ4771 Subject ‘Material Matters’

Monday 16th October

Taught Drawing lesson 4- ‘Collage’

Please prepare in advance for this session.

Collect and bring in a good selection of recycled papers for cutting up and collaging, such as newspaper, magazines, envelopes, photographs, wrapping paper, wallpaper, coloured and printed papers and the photocopied sheets you were working on during last Mondays session.

Collect and bring in a group of natural form items again.

Bring in a good selection of drawing pens, pencils, inks, watercolours and brushes, print stick, masking tape, stapler, needles and any threads, yarns, wire and cord you may have.

You will be combining your chosen materials whilst observing, recording and drawing natural forms as inspiration in your collages.

For directed independent study:

Continue to develop the techniques shown to you, to suit your own personal themes and styles. Find examples of artists who inspire your own work who use similar techniques by drawing with thread and collage. 

Absolutely love Collage!! So free and easy. Decided to create a number of collage backgrounds before drawing and stitching onto each.

Having ‘stockpiled’ offcuts, newspapers, old mags, odd bits and ends of paper, this way process of making suited me perfectly.


Dissolvable fabric is quite fragile and hence needs to be doubled up before being stitched upon, therefore the stitch speed needs to be relatively slow and steady.  The machine teeth need to be down, stitch length not applicable/relevant. Continuous straight stitch to build the design up/foundation. The zig-zag stitch will be employed to bind the straight stitch design together, it strengthens the design and stops it from falling to pieces. The bobbin needs to be threaded with colour/width relevant thread; nothing worse than constructing a magnificent design that is marred by an unsightly bobbin stitch showing through at the surface.

Take out relevant sized embroidery hoop and place dissolvable fabric within. Make sure the fabric is stretched taught, but not too tight to cause damage. Mark design on fabric with biro; don’t use sharpie or sharp crystal-tip pen, marks made could affect colour of thread or even cause damage.

MAKE SURE FOOT IS DOWN WHILST STITCHING!! I made the mistake of leaving the foot up when finish off the design. This mistake generated loose thread, causing unsightly loops on an otherwise decent first attempt at dissolvable fabric.


As you can see, the second design is far more uncluttered and trim. I used 3 unalike colour threads to give the overall depiction more visual interest, not to mention the variety of colours found in each independent Sycamore ‘Helicopter’ seed pod.

For a first attempt I can say that I am neither excited nor displeased. The stitch, especially that of the black design, is rather untidy and loose.

Aspects I am happy with:

  1. Designs retained most of their shape.
  2. Did not fall apart.
  3. Colour relevant/good
  4. Detail on 2 out of 3 good.

Aspects I am unhappy with:

  1. Slightly misshapen. Possibly due to size?
  2. Uncertainty of fabric dissolution.
  3. Whilst drying, designs stuck to paper towel (unsightly). How do I know if all the ‘glue’ has been removed? Should I leave the fabric in the water for a time first?
  4. Detail not as sharp and crisp as I had hoped.

What did I learn?

I actually really enjoyed utilising the dissolvable fabric, although due to it’s adhesive quality I found that it stuck regular to the surface of the sewing machine. This was remedied by putting a small stitch in the 4 corners of the fabric and connecting these stitches to the innermost circle of the hoop, it worked a treat. Size can be a major factor when looking at detail, structural strength and end results. Think I will dry the end stitch designs on glass/perspex to avoid sticking to paper. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Mind the stitches; stitches have to go right to the edge, if falling short the stitch will become loose and fray.

One last little experiment of mine, due to the lacklustre contrast between the stitched designs and white paper, I decided to play around with the colour of the background. I absolutely love the blue and red/orange paper, it energises the stitch and overall image. I look forward to the up and coming Colour Theory week.



 ‘The somewhat blurry image of the bird above is much more than just a ‘blurry image of a bird’; it makes visible the interconnected nature of camera, the pane of glass in front of the camera, the bird, the landscape and human by revealing the apparatus used to compose the image – the camera – reflected in the glass that sits between the photographer and their subject matter. All are interconnected.

This study group will take a transdisciplinary perspective to exploring the concerns of the maker, archivist, conservationist, curator and anthropologist in the reading, creation and presentation of objects. Each of these positions require a ‘relational’ mode of thinking which looks at the connections between objects as ‘things’ that are interconnected and as part of interconnected ‘meshworks’ rather than as individual objects. 

We will learn how to read different kinds of objects, in varying contexts and identify their different statuses in relation to each other. To do this we will cover a set of theories including; Thing theory, Material Engagement Theory and Object-orientated ontology (OOO) which explore human–object and object-object interactions.

To help explore these ideas, we will undertake a series of practical exercises and experiments throughout the delivery of this course that will equip you with self-reflexive skills and transdisciplinary methods in articulating the processes of making, exhibiting and curating objects. You will also undertake a practical curatorial exercise around a significant object of your choice through which you will learn to explore, read, position and understand objects in terms of their relationships with other objects and spaces.’

This is the subject module brief of THE MESHWORK OF OBJECTS. At first glance it seems rather opaque and intrinsic to someone that is indeed undertaking a Phd, as Jacqui informed us she was doing.

Jacqui introduced us to a different way of thinking through subjects. The overall consensus of the lecture………..LEARN TO LOOK. John Berger would be a hugely beneficial source to utilise within this module. Purchased WAYS OF SEEING, UNDERSTANDING A PHOTOGRAPH, CONFABULATIONS & ABOUT LOOKING , second-hand, on Amazon for £18!!! Bargain.

The Formative Assessment for my 2000 Word Study Group Assignment & 1000 Word Learning Journal Entry is due on the 14th December. Notes should be taken and reflected upon during/after each Constellation lecture day. In Week 7, apparently, I will have plenty of research and information to begin and finish the assignment.

I was presented with four types of discipline when looking at any type of professional practice. They are:

DISCIPLINE – a sole branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY – Combining or involving several academic disciplines or professional specializations in an approach to a topic or problem.

INTERDISCIPLINARY – Relating to more than one branch of knowledge. Analyses and harmonises links between disciplines into a coordinated/coherent whole.

TRANSDISCIPLINARY – Connotes a research strategy that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach.


I was tasked to create a diagram that would display my comprehension towards the importance of a designer/maker to ‘think outside the box’. Why is this necessary? Why is it so important to ‘think outside the box/journey outside the comfort zone?’ Why is it so imperative to cross-disciplines with other designers/makers?

  1. Sharing knowledge/Best Practice
  2. Problem Solving
  3. Networking(Local/Worldwide)
  4. Stepping out of creative comfort zone
  5. Birth of New Ideas
  6. Sense of Community (Bringing cultures together/acceptance)
  7. Practice remains continually fresh
  8. Become a fully rounded ‘3-D’ Designer
  9. New perspectives
  10. Respect/Curiosity
  11. Technological advances (Universal language)
  12. Breaking down barriers

It is vital to keep pushing the boundaries, explore, ask questions, search for answers, experiment, read, practice and create. Always to think of a bigger picture.

‘An artist’s duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany’ Nick Cave, Musician.

There is no such thing as a singular truth, only plural realities. Always be reflective, critical and discerning. Provoke new kinds of concerns & questioning/new kinds of answers & knowledge.

CURATE – Select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition)/select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge.

How can we organise/arrange what is around us?

What is the art of curating? The Meshwork of an Object. Presentation. Communication. What does it say? What is the overarching theme? What does it underpin? What are the relationships between each other? Are they real, to be observed? Or are they non-material real, invisible? Question each object.

Tim Infold describes this perfectly within his  research article BINDINGS AGAINST BOUNDARIES: Entanglements of Life in an Open World, published only 1st August 2008. Sourced @ http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1068/a40156

‘In this paper I argue that to inhabit the world is to live life in the open. Yet philosophical attempts to characterise the open lead to paradox. Do we follow Heidegger in treating the open as an enclosed space cleared from within, or Kant (and, following his lead, mainstream science) in placing the open all around on the outside? One possible solution is offered by Gibson in his ecological approach to perception. The Gibsonian perceiver is supported on the ground, with the sky above and the earth below. Yet in this view, only by being furnished with objects does the earth–sky world become habitable. To progress beyond the idea that life is played out upon the surface of a furnished world, we need to attend to those fluxes of the medium we call weather. To inhabit the open is to be immersed in these fluxes. Life is lived in a zone in which earthly substances and aerial media are brought together in the constitution of beings which, in their activity, participate in weaving the textures of the land. Here, organisms figure not as externally bounded entities but as bundles of interwoven lines of growth and movement, together constituting a meshwork in fluid space. The environment, then, comprises not the surroundings of the organism but a zone of entanglement. Life in the open, far from being contained within bounded places, threads its way along paths through the weather world. Despite human attempts to hard surface this world, and to block the intermingling of substance and medium that is essential to growth and habitation, the creeping entanglements of life will always and eventually gain the upper hand’. 

Tim Gold catalogued the idea that direct connectedness is a flawed construct; entanglement/habituation is a more palpable design model. Simply put, it means that instead of direct meshwork, the connections are more chaotic and random.



(Above) Ferrante Imperato “The Cabinet of Curiosities (Dell’Historia Naturale), 1599″

Breaking the traditions of chronology and telling a different story. Curating a meshwork of objects to initiate a new and exciting visual language for each and every one of us to interpret.

Things are not always passive. Object becomes a thing when it can no longer serve it’s common function, it sheds it’s socially encoded value and becomes deconstructed to the value used to create the thing. For example, a printer is not really thought about or seen when it is working correctly, but as soon as it stops working we are immediately made aware of it’s function and it’s purpose. It’s like we are blind to what is truly around us, our brains are programmed not to think.

Aristotle argued that to create any thing you have to bring together form (morph) and matter (hyle) – HYLOMORPHIC.


However this was found to be an unbalanced concept. Form came to be seen composed by an agent (maker) with an end goal in mind.

After viewing a few slides of Alberto Giacometti, Jacqui gave each one of the group a small lump of clay. We were asked to create a clay man/woman in the style of Giacometti; tall and thin. We were asked to think about the the qualities of the clay. How did it feel? What is the texture? Was it dry or wet? What is the property of the clay? Did it dry out when manipulated for too long? What marks could be distinguished after making? How strong/supportive was the figure? Did it fall over or stay upright? Is the foundation secure? Was human interaction evident in the form of fingerprints? What kind of fine motor skills have been utilised?  These are all valid questions of any designer/maker. These tools can be applied to anything that I create, whether it be practical, oral or written.


Homework for myself. Re-read Bill Brown’s ‘Thing Theory’ and deconstruct some of the obtuse and academic style of writing. Simplify and learn.




My first elected/chosen workshop. Having always had a fascination for Photography from such a young age, I thought it sagacious to snap up this terrific opportunity. I did not know what to initially expect on this workshop, but nonetheless I brought my Canon EOS 750D SLR. The Photography/Video department was situated in N-Block, specifically N0.01.

Malcolm, the Photography/Video TD, began introducing us to the benefit of using Photography within our own practice. Documenting our work, blogs, research, practice progression and recording experiments could all be enhanced with using high quality photographic images. He informed us that workshops will become available within Term 2, straight after Christmas. No brainer for me, I am signed up already!!

The session flowed extremely well and was wonderfully involving. Slides were shown of how effective Photographic practice within individual practice can be. Previous students’ work was demonstrated to inform us of what can be achieved if you use opportunities wisely.

Some of the ideas, to be used within my practice, absorbed are as follow:

  1. Employ textile design with old & recycled furniture. Utilise functionality of high-end Photography to advertise work in a creative and innovative manner.
  2. Photo Collage – Fabric/Stitch/Print. How will photographic paper take to being stitched into/printed on?
  3. Using Photography to create an Artists book/photo-book/visual diary.
  4. Can use the print Room in A-Block for large jobs/Digital Print.
  5. When producing Business cards less is more, leave some space for your personal information.
  6. Research the history/practice of producing CYANOTYPES, KALLITYPES and PHOTOGRAMS.

CYANOTYPE – ‘Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. The process uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide’.  Exert taken from Wikipedia.

(Above) Anna Atkins “Papaver Rhoeas, 1845.”

KALLITYPE – ‘Kallitype is a process for making photographic prints. Patented in 1889 by W. W. J. Nicol, the Kallitype print is an iron-silver process. A chemical process similar to the Van Dyke brown based on the use of a combination of ferric and silver salts. While Van Dyke brown and argyrotype use ferric ammonium citrate, the light-sensitive element used for the Kallitype is ferric oxalate.[1] The use of ferric oxalate allows for both extended shadow definition (higher DMAX) and contrast control’.   Exert taken from Wikipedia.11_07_24_Kallitype_Scan_001_blog

(Above) Paul Romaniuk “Untitled/Untoned Kallitype, 2011”

PHOTOGRAM – ‘A Photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The usual result is a negative shadow image that shows variations in tone that depends upon the transparency of the objects used. Areas of the paper that have received no light appear white; those exposed through transparent or semi-transparent objects appear grey. The technique is sometimes called cameraless photography. It was used by Man Ray in his exploration of rayographs. Other artists who have experimented with the technique include László Moholy-Nagy, Christian Schad (who called them “Schadographs”), Imogen Cunningham and Pablo Picasso.[2] Variations of the technique have also been used for scientific purposes’.


(Above) Killian Breier “Photogram, 1957”

This is just a small introduction to these 3 processes, to gain a better understanding I will exploit the knowledge of Cardiff Met Library.

One of the most exciting aspects of these Photography workshops will be the ability to learn how to develop my own photographs through the medium of 35mm film. There is nothing quite like developing film and creating the images on photographic paper, digital does not give the same results. I find that digital images lack the glorious imperfections of film that make it so deep and full of character.

If I ever need to contact Malcolm or Kim (TD’s)



Fascinating workshop. My mind is in overdrive. Research time.




Killing 2 birds with 1 stone; a wondrous excuse to take my dogs, Moly and Zulu, up to Cefn Onn park for a leaf/flora foraging exercise.


I must admit, I actually enjoyed the time so much with my dogs that the leaf/flora foraging took a back seat. However, I did bring back some items of interest. I wanted to transcribe simplistic and basic prints using paint and ink, I added a little mark making into the mix too. Below are the results of my walk.


Reflecting on my park/dog walk experience, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the park and experimenting with print. Completing these simple exercises is giving me a more disciplined approach to colour, shape and form. I absolutely love drawing from observation, yet sometimes it may not go to plan. If this is the case, I can improvise using found objects to print and stitch into. Exploration into mixed media is a must.


Using Ash and Sycamore leaves on coloured paper and incorporating ink, paint and bleach. Ripping images from the original paper they were applied to and collaging, stretching and drawing on top can allude to depth, texture and a 3-D quality. Simple lines over these images create a sense of individual ‘framed’ images which I really love. Could I mould an idea of a framed piece of work within a frame? Framed textile art? Manipulating these worked-into images can produce endless research ideas to pursue.


‘Module ADZ4771 Subject ‘Material Matters’

Monday 9 October.

Taught Drawing Lesson 3- ‘Deconstruction! Drawing with Thread’:

You are asked to prepare in advance for this session:

  • Photocopy some of the pieces you created last week, both in black and white and in colour, ready to use today.
  • Collect and bring in a group of natural form items to draw. This could be anything portable, such as flowers, foliage, twigs/ small branches, berries, seed-heads, fruits, vegetables, spices, feathers, shells, bark, driftwood, etc.
  • Bring in a good selection of drawing pens, pencils, inks, watercolours and brushes, Pritt stick and any threads/ yarn/ cord/ ribbon you may have.
  • You will be arranging, observing, recording and drawing several studies at differing scales.
  • You will then be incorporating threads, either glued or stitched on to your photocopies and other papers whilst observing a still-life of natural forms’

This was the brief set for today. Really excited to see what my creativity produces.

All my mark making ideas had been photocopied and brought in with me. I was a little concerned, initially, at the monotone/darkness aesthetic of the images, but actually found that the black and white of the photocopies meant that I could concentrate on being a little more lavish with the colour of the thread.

‘Drawing is like taking a line line for a walk’ Quote from Paul Klee.



Sasha had kindly brought in some incredible natural forms, including dried seed pods, branches, flowers, leaves and all other matter of wondrous gifts from nature. I was immediately drawn to the twists and sinuous turns of a drying out Lily flower head/stem (above). The form could be manipulated into a continuous line drawing effortlessly; fine liner and pencil were my chosen medium to record on paper.



(Left) Simply ripping the photocopied image roughly horizontally and laying down alternate inverted strips; Four observational drawings were recorded within specific areas of the paper; in hindsight I think I should have used a different colour medium on the monotone image, parts are a little difficult to see. (Right) Ripping photocopy and arranging at 45/90degrees to each other. Chronicling one larger drawing to straddle the white paper and collage. Specific coloured thread will be added later. I will document many different ideas before applying thread.

During the session, Helen Watkins our head of year, presented the group with a short retrospective to the type of exploration that makes her practice individual to her. I found the discussion most interesting, her inspiration is gained primarily from taking inspiring walks, this resonated highly with me. During my youth I loved nothing more than taking a trip into nature with my Dad. He would describe to me in detail all the wonders of the natural world, himself being an artist made the walks even more colourful and formative. Even to this day, I love nothing more than being surrounded by Nature.

Helen began to discuss ideas that could take our exploratory studies to the next level, after all the module is called ‘Material Matters’. She gave extremely generous advice in how to begin collecting/absorbing tools/materials of interest that could be utilised in an individual way.

(Above) The exploration/collage/juxtaposition from photocopies of my mark-making exercises. Next step will be to create observational drawing/stitch interpretations.


‘I have learned that what I have not drawn, i have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realise how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle’ Quote from Frederick Frank


BONDAWEB!! A strong, heat reactive, sheet of glue which permanently bonds one fabric to another when ironed. Always used in Appliqué. Safe and sturdy sewing.

If the fabric is thin, an iron without steam is used. If fabric is thick, a good steam is necessary.

Looking at Precision Stitch this morning. Maggie presented a technical demonstration into how precision stitch is applied and how effectively it can be transferred onto appliqué. Precision stitch will give a professional and well finished conclusion.

I decided to use one of my Sycamore ‘Helicopter’ seeds as inspiration for my appliqué design. Using the disappearing fabric pen, I drew the basic outline from observation. From here, I set up my sewing machine and began to follow the instructions set out by Maggie.

Personal Feelings about Precision stitch:

  1. Precise, little room for error.
  2. When using the needle down button (middle of 3 circular buttons on image above), will always travel 1 further machine stitch forward to put needle down again. Tap foot to use single stitch.

PRECISION STITCH TIP!! Always start at a point.

Could I draw and then trace the image onto fabric? No. I tried and failed miserably; fabric was too busy to pick up any of the pencil. I ironed the bondaweb onto my chosen fabric and began to prepare further ‘sketches’ onto the back. I made sure that the adhesive side was touching the back of the fabric before ironing, otherwise a sticky and ruined iron will be gained.

The images were now cut out from the fabric and their back peeled off to reveal a slightly sticky backing. The shapes were now ironed onto the chosen fabric, which happened to be a sample swatch I had kept for this purpose. The pattern on the attach resembled the bark of a tree, pretty apt considering the seeds had failed from a tree.

Taking technique from Week 1 and incorporating with precision stitch, I used the appliqué process to outline pattern which I would follow on the reverse side. Once completed, I turned the sample over, changed the bobbin thread to one with more interest and began stitching. try-colour ribbon thread was used to ‘couch’ the thread onto the front.


Working on the reverse side will give the result you want on the front. Overall, the effect is not really what I was hoping for. The colour combination is slightly peculiar, but for a sample it allowed me to learn from my mistakes and gather the knowledge not to make them again.

Applique is definitely not one of my favourite stitch techniques, nonetheless I will probe my curiosity to gain a better understanding of the method.